TSA testing non-nude imaging on some scanners - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

TSA testing non-nude imaging on some scanners

A TSA official watches over a passenger until his full-body scan is completed. (Source: WTOL) A TSA official watches over a passenger until his full-body scan is completed. (Source: WTOL)
A second TSA official looks at an image-specific photo of the passenger from another room to make sure the passenger is not carrying any suspicious items on his body. (Source: WTOL) A second TSA official looks at an image-specific photo of the passenger from another room to make sure the passenger is not carrying any suspicious items on his body. (Source: WTOL)
Washington -

WASHINGTON (RNN) - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun to test new software that will enhance the privacy of passengers on its advanced imaging technology machines, said TSA Administrator John Pistole.

"We are always looking for new technology and procedures that will both enhance security while strengthening privacy protections," Pistole said in a news release.

Currently, the technology is hard-wired to a monitor in a remote viewing room. There, a TSA agent looks at a specific, stripped-down image of a passenger standing in the full-body scanner and coordinates with the officer assisting the passenger at the security check-point as to whether he or she can advance.

In contrast, the new technology has the ability to auto-detect anomalies, or potential threat items, on passengers and indicates their location on a generic outline of the passenger, which is attached to the full-body scanning unit. The screen is visible to both the officer at the security check-point and the passenger, eliminating the need for a third-party viewer and the passenger-specific image.

A green light with the words "OK" will appear on the monitor with no outline if the passenger is cleared to proceed to their gate. If an anomaly shows up, additional screening will be required of that passenger.

"Testing this new software will help us confirm test results that indicate it can provide the same high level of security as current advanced imaging technology units while further enhancing the privacy protections already in place," Pistole said.

Sarah Horowitz, a TSA spokesperson, said the technology was introduced Tuesday at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. She said it will hit Hartsfield Atlanta International and Reagan Washington National Airport in the coming days.

Horowitz said the technology will be evaluated over the next few months. If the results are positive, it is likely much of the image-specific testing software will be replaced by the new software, she said.

This new development is likely to come as a relief to many passengers, who raised their voices against the potential privacy threats associated with the image-specific technology.

One of those people is Jim Babb, who co-founded, "We Won't Fly," a grassroots internet movement aimed at educating passengers and pressuring the airline industry into making changes.

"There's a fundamental issue here of human decency and inherent rights," Babb said in November. "We have inherent rights to our own bodies. And when we give up that, we give up everything."

Horowitz said passengers may still choose to opt out of the full-body scanners if they favor an agent-orchestrated pat-down. However, she said that consistently only one percent of passengers make that choice.

"Over 98 percent of passengers chose to go the imaging technology if it's in that lane they're going through," she said.

On Nov. 24, National Opt Day, which protested the new airport security measures as invasive, flopped.

Babb's group, a player in the protest, also questions the X-ray technology used in the full-body scanners. A group of faculty members at the University of California, San Francisco, raised concerns about the "potential serious health risks" that the machines pose, including cancer.

Horowitz said that the technology has always been safe for passengers and will remain so, as the X-ray technology in the machines has not been changed.

"The technology remains safe to all passengers," she said.

Horowitz said that X-ray emissions from the machines are "well below national standards" and safe for "pregnant women and children."

Horowitz said that the new technology has "been in the testing phase for some time," and was not developed in response to the national outcry over privacy concerns.

The technology originated in early 2010 and was later tested at the TSA Systems Integration Facility in the fall of that year.

TSA collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and private industry in the creation of the software.

TSA said there are almost 500 imaging technology units at 78 airports across the nation. More will be added as the year goes on.

TSA introduced the full-body scanners and patdowns following an 2008 incident in which a Nigerian traveler tried to ignite a bomb in his underwear in an attempt to take down a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas day.


Related stories

Copyright 2011 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.  

  • LocalMore>>

  • First Alert Forecast: unsettled but not a washout for the holiday weekend

    First Alert Forecast: unsettled but not a washout for the holiday weekend

    Friday, May 25 2018 2:30 PM EDT2018-05-25 18:30:30 GMT
    A tropical storm is likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico soon. Much of its moisture will stay to the south of the Carolinas but local shower and storm chances will grow from 30-40% Saturday and Sunday to 50-60% by Memorial Day itself. (Source: WECT)A tropical storm is likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico soon. Much of its moisture will stay to the south of the Carolinas but local shower and storm chances will grow from 30-40% Saturday and Sunday to 50-60% by Memorial Day itself. (Source: WECT)

    A tropical low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico will swirl moisture into the Carolinas Memorial Day weekend. Odds for showers and storms, initially low, will trend higher in this time.

    More >>

    A tropical low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico will swirl moisture into the Carolinas Memorial Day weekend. Odds for showers and storms, initially low, will trend higher in this time.

    More >>
  • NC teacher suspended after video shows student being choked, officials say

    NC teacher suspended after video shows student being choked, officials say

    Friday, May 25 2018 12:56 PM EDT2018-05-25 16:56:02 GMT
    A Wake County high school teacher has been suspended after video surfaced of him choking a student, officials say. (Source: WNCN)A Wake County high school teacher has been suspended after video surfaced of him choking a student, officials say. (Source: WNCN)
    (Source: WNCN)(Source: WNCN)

    A Wake County high school teacher has been suspended after video surfaced of him choking a student, officials say.

    More >>

    A Wake County high school teacher has been suspended after video surfaced of him choking a student, officials say.

    More >>
  • Wilmington tech startup to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley

    Wilmington tech startup to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley

    Friday, May 25 2018 12:02 PM EDT2018-05-25 16:02:55 GMT
    A Wilmington based tech startup is gearing up to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley next week. (Source: WECT)A Wilmington based tech startup is gearing up to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley next week. (Source: WECT)
    A Wilmington based tech startup is gearing up to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley next week. (Source: WECT)A Wilmington based tech startup is gearing up to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley next week. (Source: WECT)

    A Wilmington based tech startup is gearing up to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley next week. KWIPPED, an online marketplace offering equipment rental, was selected out of more than 400 applicants to pitch their company at Silicon Valley Open Doors Tech Conference. Founder and CEO Robert Preville said Friday that the conference is KWIPPED's chance to get on stage and tell the company's story. The goal is gaining interest of tier 1 investors attending the conference. "Th...

    More >>

    A Wilmington based tech startup is gearing up to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley next week. KWIPPED, an online marketplace offering equipment rental, was selected out of more than 400 applicants to pitch their company at Silicon Valley Open Doors Tech Conference. Founder and CEO Robert Preville said Friday that the conference is KWIPPED's chance to get on stage and tell the company's story. The goal is gaining interest of tier 1 investors attending the conference. "Th...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly